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Literature Review: The Effects of Gutter oil in China

Chapter 1

  1. Research problem

Due to the high cost of processed cooking translating into high prices, many people in China have resolved to search for alternative means of cheap oil. A number have resorted to the utilization of gutter oil. Due to their rudimentary mode of production, most people in China have been affected by the chemical toxins that it contains. Barboz, (2010) argues that the industrial oil refiners are the authorized producers and distributors of processed oil that is utilized domestically and industrially. Research has indicated that gutter oil is a suitable raw ingredient for the production of rubber, bio-fuel, and soaps, as well as cosmetics. However, the production of gutter oil for human consumption as an alternative to cooking oil has severe health implications.


  1. Aim of the study

The research study is going to examine the impact of gutter oil impacts the lives of the Chinese people.

  1. Objectives of the research

Gutter oil is defined by Ye and Pei (2014) as a type of cooking oil derived from recycled garbage, animal by products such as fats and sewer waste. Ye and Pei (2014) add that its production involves simple processes including collection, filtration and boiling, and finally removal of adulterants. The oil is usually sold to low-end restaurants that are often frequented by people of low income.

The research study will examine the production and distribution of gutter oil in China. The study will also go ahead establish the benefits and dis-benefits of using gutter oil as an alternative to cooking oil. The researcher will finally propose sustainable use of gutter oil and how the authorities can curb illegal production and distribution of gutter oil.

  1. Research questions
  • What is the relationship between gutter oil and human heath?
  • What are the benefits of using gutter oil?
  • What are the hazardous effects of using gutter oil?
  • What are the steps to be taken to alleviate the use of gutter oil?
  1. Significance of the study

The study was very crucial since the long-term effects of using gutter oil are deleterious. The oil contains numerous hazardous chemicals that are extremely toxic to human life (Countries, Health, Policy, & Medicine, 2012). On the contrary, as a result of the high price of cooking oil, several street food vendors are using the black market gutter oil. This may have a negative impact on the lives of those who use it. The results from the study would be very beneficial to the Chinese environmental regulatory authority, learning institutions, the Chinese community and the Chinese government in tackling the problems brought by production and consumption of gutter oil.

  1. Rationale behind doing the study

The reasons for conducting this study is that many people in China especially those form the lower end of the economic ladder have been adversely affected by using gutter oil.

In 2000, the first documented case of gutter oil that was reported in China with the suspect being accused of producing gutter oil from Chinese pharmaceutical industries. Gutter oil has been found to extremely toxic and can abdominal pain and diarroea. In that perspective, long term consumption of the oil leads to liver and stomach cancer, in addition to disabilities in the development of newborns and children. Samples of gutter oil that have been taken for testing have revealed traces of highly toxic components such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, which is an extremely dangerous organic pollutant that has the ability to cause with long-term consumption. Besides, there is also the likelihood for gutter oil to containing aflatoxins; highly carcinogenic compounds created by a particular type of molds (Navarro & Autry, 2011).

  1. Introduction

It hints what the dissertation is going to discuss; the reasons behind the widespread use of gutter oil and its effects in China.

Chapter 2: Literature review

A variety of academic references will be used for the literature review (see bibliography).

Chapter 3: Research Methodology

Research approach

Leedy and Ormrod (2010: 34) argues that the choice of methodologies that are to be employed in a study need to be guided by the questions and topics going to be discussed. The researcher will garner the opinions of participants as part of the design. In this research, the participants will be asked open ended questions and fill questionnaires which will allow them to give explanations for their responses. Therefore, the researcher decided that qualitative research approach will be best suited for this research project.

Data collection

Qualitative collection methods will be based on random sampling and structured data collection instruments, since they produce results that are easy to process, summarize and generalize (Cresswel, 2009).

The methods that will be used to collect qualitative data included: observation, key informant interviews, in-depth interviews with open questions, surveys with close-ended questions, filling of questionnaires, and focus groups, as well as examination of relevant academic articles.

Surveys will be done through telephone and internet. The questionnaires will be self explanatory, and they will be asked to fill it on their own volition. They will include the positive and negative effects of consuming gutter oil.

The interviews on impacts of gutter oil will be conducted medical practitioners, sampled people with low income and high income and environmental authorities. Several options of interviews have been reviewed as relevant to the research: First, face to face interviews. The advantage of these interviews is that they carry the highest response rate of all interview systems. Second, telephone interviews are less time consuming than face to face interviews and much less expensive. Relatively, response rate is high if there is a personal acquaintance with the interviewed party. Next, computer assisted personal interviewing uses a computerized data base on a laptop or a smartphone to collect and record all data. This method saves time and gives clarity of the questions to the interviewed party. Lastly, Song and Zahedi (2011:210) noted that the web-based questionnaire is a new and popular methodology of internet based research. This method provides an opportunity for thorough yet less time consuming interviews. However, the disadvantage with this method might be giving accurate results because they are on their own while answering.


Bayat and Fox (2007: 54) identify sampling as the process by which elements are drawn from the population. The research will use random sampling which is a probability sampling. The researcher will select a sample of 15 respondents drawn from different parts in China.

Target Population

Dornyei (2007: 96) states that target population is the population to whom the survey findings are to be applied or generalized. According to Babbie (2013: 115), population is a group of people whom the researcher wants to draw conclusions.

In this research the target population will be people with low income who commonly use gutter oil.

Chapter 4: Results

The results will be presented after collection of data.

Data Analysis

According to Bayat and Fox (2007: 104), data analysis is to make sense of what has been collected so that you can gain information that will lead to the knowledge of the data that has been collected. Since the research will be handling low volume of interviews which are planned to be mostly qualitative, a low volume of statistical analysis is required.

Descriptive analysis would be done positive and negative effects of consuming gutter oil in China. The interview data would be analyzed using the initial steps of grounded analysis method of qualitative research in views of the theoretical models.

Statistical analysis will be performed on all the completed questionnaires. Spearman correlations will be calculated. The simple correlation coefficient will be utilized to test the significance and estimate the strength of the bivariate relationship between human health and long-term consumption of gutter oil. The final picture will be a synthesis of the research results with the reviewed literature.

Chapter 6: Discussion

Will report on the research findings

Chapter 7


A variety of recommendations will be given based on the findings.


A conclusion would be made based on the findings.

Limitations of the research

Financial and time constraints are the core setbacks of the study. Besides, financial resources for the study are inadequate. Some respondents may hide under the pretext of lack of time to avoid answering the questions. There is limited literature on the topic impact of gutter oil. Another limitation of the research study is that some respondents provided wrong responses for fear of being victimized by their colleagues and employers. Besides, it takes long administer and retrieve the questionnaire. It is usually hard to acquire information from key personalities, particularly those at the management level.

Ethical considerations

Henning (2004: 74) mention that the interview plan has been finalised when the process of ethical clarification can begin. The researcher will focus on the following ethical categories issued illustrated by Leedy and Ormrod (2010: 101-104).

Protection from harm

The researcher will ensure that none of the participants will be exposed to undue physical or psychological harm. Participants will not be exposed to undue stress, embarrassment or loss of self-esteem. This will be achieved because questions asked will be related to their normal day-to-day functions. Names of participants will not be mentioned in the research report. Each participant in the sample will be referred to by a number, 1-15,

Informed consent

Participants will be informed in a letter of the nature and the reason for the study. The letter will also inform, that participation is voluntary, and they have the right to withdraw from the study at any time. Before the interviews start, participants will be informed that they are not compelled to take part in the research and might terminate their participation at any time during the interview.

Right to privacy

The researcher will inform participants that their responses to questions are strictly private and confidential and would not be strictly discussed with anyone else. The researcher will also inform the participants that their anonymity is guaranteed, by referring to them to as number and not indicate their names.

Web based instruments for data collection provides for ethical considerations of the research participants. However, the overarching ethical challenge that faces networked researchers is privacy and anonymity concerns of the participants. As a result privacy concerns, could substantially and negatively manipulate response rates to the online research. Therefore, most of the online data collections instruments need to utilize passwords and concealment of IP addresses to offer privacy and anonymity of the respondents (Stanton & Rogelberg, 2009).

Research Plan

Time plan of activities

Date Activity
March 25 Research proposal, Ethical approval form to the research committee


April 25 Thesis approval and data collection
May 25 – June 28 Administration of questionnaires, interview, and carrying out of online surveys
June 29 – July 2 Interpretation of data an independent biostatistician.
July 2 -15 Writing the thesis frame and submitting a draft for review
August 3 Revising, Editing, Proofing
September 15 Submission of final report


  • Purchasing various literature for the dissertation – Estimated at around 250 USD
  • Travel expenses for the interviews – will be made during corporate sponsored events, therefore a dedicated budget is not needed.
  • Online survey tool – about 70 USD.


Barboza, D. (2010, 31 March). Retrieved March 18, 2014, from Recycled cooking oil found to be the latest hazard in China:

Babbie, E. 2013.The Practice of Social Research.13th edition. London: Wadsworth.

Bayat, M.S. & Fox, W. 2007.A Guide to Managing Research. Cape Town: Juta.

Benfield, J. A., & Szlemko, W. J. (2010). Research Design: Internet-Based Data Collection: Promises and Realities. Journal of Research Practice , 45-62.

Bouyssou, D., Dubois, D., and Prade, H. (2010). Decision Making Process: Concepts and Methods. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Countries, C. o., Health, B. o., Policy, B. o., & Medicine, I. o. (2012). Ensuring Safe Foods and Medical Products Through Stronger Regulatory Systems Abroad. New York: National Academies Press, .

Creswell, J. (2009). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Dornyei, Z. 2007. Research Methods in Applied Linguistics. China: Oxford.

Henning, E. 2005. Finding your way in Academic Writing. 2nd edition Van Schaik: Pretoria

Leedy, P.D. & Ormrod, J.E. 2010.The practical research planning and design.9th edition.

New Jersey: Pearson.

Navarro, P., & Autry, ?. (2011). Death by China: Confronting the Dragon – A Global Call to Action. New York: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Song J, and Zahedi, F. 2011, “Web Design In E-Commerce: A Theory And Empirical Analysis,” Proceedings of the International Conference of Information Systems 2001, pp. 205-220.

Ye, Q., & Pei, X. (2014). Retrieved March 18, 2014, from Methods for differentiating recycled cooking oil needed in China: